Monday, December 22, 2014

The European Council, the first one to be chaired by its new president, Donald Tusk, took place on December 18 in Brussels. Its first session was dedicated to improving the investment climate in Europe.

 To this regard, the EU Council called for setting up a European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) in the EIB Group with the aim to mobilise €315 billion in new investments between 2015 and 2017.

Upon his arrival at the Summit, PM Samaras made the following statement: “During this year’s third quarter in the Eurozone, Greece has had the fastest growing economy with the best, highest structural surplus. This spectacular comeback is due to an unprecedented sacrifice on behalf of all the people in Greece. The political system as a whole and I personally, will not allow anyone to gamble with these sacrifices and accomplishments. Therefore, I believe that political uncertainty in Greece will be soon put to an end”.

  • For Children and not Only
The city of Athens celebrates [in Greek] Christmas holidays with events for children and adults. Live radio broadcasting and concerts at Syntagma square will cheer up the days leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The youngsters will have not time to waste: workshops, cooking classes, theatre and a chance to watch puppet theatre will be offered during the whole festive period, until January 3, at Klafthmonos Square. At New Year’s Eve, Leon of Athens, Monsieur Minimal, Penny & the Swinging Cats, Johnny Vavouras and the Cadillacs will fill Syntagma Square with songs and Christmas melodies.

 For more fun and games, there are festive theme parks scattered across the city: the Christmas Factory in Technopolis (Gazi), Snowland at OAKA (Marousi), Christmas Star at Helexpo (Marousi), and Santa Claus Kingdom (Paiania) for ice- skating, Santa Claus workshops, Kalikantzari (the Greek Christmas Trolls), carousels, cooking classes, ski lessons and many more games, that will keep children happy and active.
  • Christmas Bazaars

The Smile of the Child is hosting Christmas Bazaars all over Greece and gives visitors the chance to shop for a good cause! All ornaments, gifts and Christmas products are made by volunteers and employees at the Voluntary Creative Workshops of the Smile of the Child. You can have a look at all Christmas items here. Moreover, the Therapy Centre for Dependent Individuals (KETHEA) holds Christmas Bazaars in many Greek cities to support its therapeutic communities. Find out more here.

The University of Sydney's Nicholson Museum offers the Acropolis Museum a Lego Acropolis. The model features the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, the smaller Erechtheion temple and the site's monumental gateway, the Propylaea. The LEGO model displays the Acropolis both as it was in the fifth century BC and today, as one of Greece's most popular tourist attractions.

Captured in LEGO are some of the Acropolis' more famous visitors including Pericles, Lord Elgin, Dame Agatha Christie, and even Elton John. Michael Turner, senior curator at the Nicholson Museum, says the Acropolis Museum emailed him" asking if it could borrow the model to attract younger visitors. "

After a largely sleepless night, I got back to the museum and said no, they couldn't borrow it … we'd give it Nicholson Museum’s Greek collection contains artefacts representative of the material culture of the Greek mainland, islands and surrounding regions, from the Bronze Age through to the Late Hellenistic period. to them."

The Nicholson Museum is Australia's oldest University museum and home to the largest collection of antiquities in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Neos Kosmos: Australia donates a whole Acropolis to Greece! & Acropolis- Virtual Tour

Nassos Vakalis is an animator and storyboard artist, working for the feature animation development unit of DreamWorks Animation Studios. Since 2009, he has been working on his own short animated films. First came Human Nature (2009) and a few years later came Dinner for Few which was presented at the Animasyros animation festival and is currently participating in a number of festivals worldwide. The set is a dinner table sitted by anthropomorphic pigs. The only human figure is the service which makes sure there is enough food on the table.

Under the table, leftovers are thrown to cats, circulating around the table, looking out for their bite. "It is as if the world moves by inertia and everyone looks indifferent and reluctant to change" says Vakalis describing this allegorical depiction of society. The point is what happens when the cats start jumping on the table and start grabbing what they want. In 2006 Nassos was awarded by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with an Emmy for outstanding achievement in content. The 10-minute animation Dinner for few is funded and co-produced by Nassos Vakalis and his wife Katerina Stergiopoulou.

The Greek News Agenda editorial team wishes its readers a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and a healthy holiday season! We will be back on Wednesday, January 7, 2015.